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O'Reilly-Rumsfeld Interview - Part Two

Reported by Marie Therese - December 16, 2005

Question 4: "Vice-President Cheney said the insurgency is in its last throes. Was that a wise thing to say?"

RUMSFELD: Well, you know, I suppose you could take that two ways. You could take it to mean, that, that therefore, it was ending. Or you could say they were in a spurt of energy - the last throes - which would be particularly violent and, and dangerous and lethal.

O'REILLY: That sounds like spin to me. Last throes sounds, to me ...

RUMSFELD: This is the No Spin Zone. Why would you say that?

O'REILLY: Last throes, to me, sounds like you got your foot on their neck. Do you?

RUMSFELD: Well, I think that the reality is that these extremists are not going to sign a surrender ceremony someplace on the USS Missouri.

O'REILLY: Are you knockin' 'em down?

RUMSFELD: Oh, you bet. Oh, my goodness.

O'REILLY: Yeah.

RUMSFELD: A lot of senior people around Zarqawi have been killed recently.

O'REILLY: So you're takin' care of it?

RUMSFELD: Absolutely. But, more come, so, I mean, it's not as though it's, it - over time these things have a tendency to last anywhere from four, five, six, eight years. So the Iraqi people will ultimately be the ones to suppress that level of insurgency.

O'REIILLY: I hope so.

RUMSFELD: And, and, we - our task is to see that those Iraqi security forces are strong enough to - the country will be able to do that. You think of it, today, what they're doin'. Those extremists are attacking the legitimate government of Iraq - the people of Iraq, the people who drafted their own constitution, ratified it, and are now voting under it.

O'REILLY: Yeah. But wha - you're not surprised, are ya'?

RUMSFELD: They're opposing that. They're opposing that.

O'REILLY: They just blew up their own people in Amman, Jordan ...

RUMSFELD: They're killing ...

O'REILLY: ... at a wedding party.

RUMSFELD: That's right.

O'REILLY: These are savages. You know that. Alright. You're - the press is 75% against you and the Bush administration and the war. That's the calibration we make.

RUMSFELD: Well, some portion of the press.

O'REILLY: 75%.

RUMSFELD: The east cost press.

O'REILLY: I don't think the LA Times is doing you any favors.

RUMSFELD: Well, that's the east coast. (Both men laugh.)

O'REILLY: Alright. Now. You got Jack Murtha, the Congressman from Pennsylvania, gettin' up there and becomin' an icon [to] the antiwar movement.

RUMSFELD: Um-hm.

O'REILLY: Murtha won't come on this program because I don't belive he can answer the questions. You wrote Murtha a letter after he appeared on Meet the Press and you said you did not fire General Shinseki as Murtha asserted and that you guys gave Tommy Franks all the troops that he asked for. Murtha's running around - and you know this is picked up worldwide - saying that you're incompetent and you're not telling the truth. How do you deal with that?

RUMSFELD: Well, it's - um - we've, we've - he - he - we've told him this. Anyone who looks at the record knows that Shinseki [indecipherable] ...

O'REILLY (interrupting): Well, is he lying?

RUMSFELD: He's mistaken.

O'REILLY: Is he willing to admit his mistake?

RUMSFELD: Well, I don't know. Ask him.

O'REILLY: I can't. He won't come on the program.

RUMSFELD: And, of course, the next week Tim Russert repeated it as assumed ...

O'REILLY: And the press takes it all day long.

RUMSFELD: And then it goes into the morgue in the newspapers and then it gets repeated.

O'REILLY: Why don't you get out and say the guy's not telling the truth?

RUMSFELD: These are urban legends. Urban myths.

O'REILLY: You have to bat it down, Mr. Secretary, with all due respect. You have to get out there and say Murtha doesn't know what he's talkin' about!! That's the only way to combat this or it does become the urban legend!

RUMSFELD: Yeah. Well, we do that. Um, my attitude about things is that I've got a big department to run. I've got a lot more things to do than run around trying to correct everything that's wrong.

O'REILLY: I see.

RUMSFLED: If I spent all my time ...

O'REILLY: I understand.

RUMSFELD: ... trying to correct everything that the media said that was wrong or anything that a member of Congress said was wrong - I mean, think of the other people in Congress. They've been running around saying the Iraqi security forces don't have any courage, and they won't fight and they won't do this and they won't do - and they're dong a good job. They provided the security for that election and they did a terrific job on it, General Casey said. I talked to him this afternoon.

O'REILLY: Why do you think the press coverage is so hostile to the Iraq effort?

RUMSFELD: Oh, I think it's always been so. In World War - in the Civil War they just vilified Abraham Lincoln. George Washington was almost fired a couple of times. Think of, think of World War II and Franklin Roosevelt. I was alive and, and he was vilified, Franklin Roosevelt. People ...

O'REILLY: Why? Is there a "why" behind the press' skepticism about armed conflict?

RUMSFELD: I don't know. I just know that there's nothing new about this. And, and Harry Truman was pounded over the Korean War and look at Lyndon Johnson on the Vietnam War. (irritated) This is what happens in a war. It's tough business and people die and our heart goes out to those wonderful people, but, by golly, if every time people started criticizing what's going on and, and, and you stopped doing what you were doing and didn't complete the task that's got to be completed over there, our country would be a totally different place and our way of life would be totally different.

[COMMENT: Exactly "how" our way of life would be totally different, Mr. Rumsfeld neglected to say. As usual, his remarks were like cotton candy. Sweet and transient.]

O'REILLY: Is Howard Dean using the conflict for political reasons?

RUMSFELD: Oh, I can'' climb into someone else's head. He's Chairman of the Democratic Party. I suppose when he gets up in the morning, what he decides to do is ...

O'REILLY: He says - he says you can't win the war.

RUMSFELD: Oh, that's utter nonsense. We can't lose the war over there! The only place you could lose it would be Washington, DC. They're not gonna lose battles over in Iraq! Our soldiers and sailors and airmen and Marine [sic] are doing an absolutely superb job ,,,

O'REILLY: My goodness ...

RUMSFELD: ... and they know it! And they're proud of what they're doing and they know it's noble work.

O'REILLY: Why doesn't Howard Dean know it?

RUMSFELD: Oh, goodness, I have enough trouble just doin' my job without tellin' ya' how he ought to do his job.

O'REILLY: I bet you'd like to tell him a few things, wouldn't ya'?

RUMSFELD: Well, not from this position. The President asked me not to get involved in politics, so I don't.

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